A Quick Guide to Legal Property Descriptions for Arizona Contractors

Currently, only 11 states require Legal Property Descriptions (per A.R.S. Sec. 33-993) and Arizona happens to be one of them. This means contractors have to include the Legal Property Address of the project site when they file a lien. If a contractor neglects to include this, it could result in a lien being considered invalid.

Just a simple address? Sounds easy enough, right? Actually, no, it’s much more than an address. If you were to put a Legal Property Description in your navigation app, it wouldn’t take you to the right place.

What exactly is a Legal Property Description?

In short, a Legal Property Description is a written record of a specific land or parcel. Its main purpose is to provide legal evidence of the property boundaries to guide surveyors in creating property lines. They’re intended for county record offices, so the average citizen might not recognize the language, as many specific terms are used. Because of the unique way these Legal Property Descriptions are created, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you understand why they matter, and how you can acquire one!

A Legal Property Description must always:

  • Include the county and state the property is located in
  • Describe the property in a very specific manner, identifying all the boundaries of a specific piece of land
  • include enough information for a licensed surveyor to use when creating property lines.

Remember that it does not require that the street address be present.

When filing a lien, contractors may make the mistake of: 

  • not including the Legal Property Description
  • describing the wrong property
  • writing an actual physical description of the property

There are three main ways Legal Property Descriptions are written in order to describe the physical features of the property.

  1. Fractional Designation – Using rectangular surveying to describe the land in sections.
  2. Metes and Bounds – Using references, such as streets and rivers, to identify each point of the property.
  3. Lot and Block Survey – Breaking the land into plots or blocks to designate boundaries.

How to find the Legal Property Description of your project site:

Legal Property Descriptions are obtained by searching for them, not writing them yourself. One option is to obtain a copy of the last recorded deed from the county recorder’s office. You can search county recorder’s or assessor’s websites by the municipal address, or owner name to identify the parcel number assigned by the county and possibly access the deed. Legal Property Descriptions are one of many elements that make lien filing complicated.

By providing accurate and specific project locations (address or parcel numbers) for identification on your preliens, Titan Lien Services can take care of these nitty-gritty details on your behalf. Having an expert like Titan Lien Services on your side ensures you don’t have to navigate “legal descriptions” alone!

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